April: The Preemie Project

Hello! I'm Kayla Pins of Pins's Needles and this month I'm here to guest post about one of my favorite charities, The Preemie Project.


The Preemie Project seeks to provide comfort and support to critically ill infants and their families in Newborn Intensive Care Units in Iowa. They are well known for their adorable hats they donate to NICUs. I love contributing to their annual events from the CyHawk challenge (outfitting Iowa babies for our big college rivalry football game) to Boo in the NICU (sweet little Halloween-themed hats).

Another important but harder to talk about program of TPP is to bring solace to families who are grieving a loss. Through their bereavement program they provide gowns, sleepers, blankets, hats, booties, miscarriage blankets, and memento bracelets to Iowa hospitals.


I had the good fortune to meet Linda, leader of The Preemie Project, last fall at a knit in for Click for Babies. While we clicked away on our purple hats I shared with Linda about my charity marathon project and asked how I could best support her organization. My heart ached as she told me about their bereavement program.

I kept busy through the winter with various woolly cold-weather projects, but April is the perfect month to turn my attention to ongoing bereavement needs of TPP.  Linda says she can never have enough sleepers and loves this pattern by Marcia Williams. The pattern is very simple and includes the wide variety of sizes needed as well as hats and booties. The fine gauge and soft yarn used makes it the perfect project as the weather warms up.


For this month's knit along we'll be focusing on the Bereavement Program of The Preemie Project. You may choose to make sets of sleepers, hats, and booties, or just focus on one item. You'll be surprised how many tiny booties can come from your scrap yarn!

Sleepers are needed in all sizes and can be in very pale colors including pink, blue, and green. Yellow can be tricky, so be sure to make it very pale. It is important to knit these in solid colors with no stripes or loud colors, as they will be given to families on a very somber occasion. You may make hats and booties to match the sleepers, but white is best when making hats and booties alone because it matches so well.

The yarn must be a fine sport or DK gauge and very soft acrylic because of the baby's very delicate skin. The pattern suggests Bernat Softee Baby. I like to use I Love This Yarn Sport. The Preemie Project has an excellent yarn guide for more suggestions.

Finished donations can be sent to:
The Preemie Project
2607 Flagstone Court
Coralville, IA 52241

There will be knit-along progress all month on Instagram (@makegiverepeat)! Tag your finished projects #makegiverepeat and you may be featured on the feed!

You can also follow The Preemie Project on Ravelry!

This is a guest post, brought to you by a valued member of our MGR community. If you have an idea for one of our monthly craft-alongs, please e-mail us and let us know! We wouldn't be able to keep this whole project up without you, and we want to be sure we're crafting for the charities you're passionate about!

March: Gallatin Shawls For Pine Ridge Reservation

March has started already, but seeing as I've just finished knitting the Gallatin Scarf and already want to cast on another one, it seems like the perfect knit-along for the month!


The Gallatin Scarf, designed by Kris Basta, is perfect for charity makers for many reasons. First, it's free - which we all know is ideal when knitting items you're going to give away!

But more than that, this scarf is perfect for almost every type of charity knitter! Knit with worsted weight yarn on US size 10.5 needles (6.5mm), this is a quick knit that uses less than 200 yards of yarnfrom start to finish.

My favorite part of the Gallatin Scarf? You can make it with just about any fiber yarn you choose! I made my first one (pictured above) in acrylic, but you can make this scarf in wool, and even cotton!


The Pine Ridge Reservation, located in South Dakota, is one of the poorest places in America. With a 90% unemployment rate, people die incredibly young, and live their short lives in crazy terrible conditions. It makes me sad and angry that people live like this anywhere, but that it happens so close to home is especially hard to fathom.

There's a group on Ravelry that constantly donates items for the people living on the reservation, and they request items of all types, sizes, and for a variety of needs. Items can be made from ANY FIBER YOU CHOOSE, so long as you tag your items when you send them!


This month, we'll be focusing our efforts on the on-going women's shelter project for the reservation. In an area of extreme poverty and addiction, the women in the shelter have seenmore than I can imagine. By making a scarf in your choice of fibers, you are reminding these ladies that they are seen, they have value, they are loved.

Please knit your scarves with stash yarn, in any fiber you choose. Remember to tag them (we've got a MGR specific tag you can use if you want!) so folks know what they're made of, and then check with the Ravelry group for the shipping address!

And don't forget to follow along all month on Instagram (@makegiverepeat) as we make shawls to send! If you tag yours #makegiverepeat, they might even get featured on our feed!

January: Vests For Refugee Children

Robyn here!

Winter has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, and cold is settling in, even on the shores of Greece in the Mediterranean. According to my friend Alison, the temperatures feel freezing as the volunteers stand at the edge of the water pulling refugees off boats, and children are being hauled to the medical tents freezing to death thanks to a combination of wind, being soaked through their clothes from the waves, and exhaustion from their travels.

One of the easiest ways to provide some extra warmth is with vests made from 100% wool, and that's where the Mini Thermal Vest pattern comes in. I shared a bit about this at the end of last year, but vests are uniquely perfect for refugees, especially when made in wool - they keep the body's main organs warm by covering the trunk of a person, all while keeping extremities free of the bulk of sweaters and blankets and such. This means vests can be layered over or under other long sleeved clothing and provide one extra layer of warmth, and when made with wool there's the added advantage of some amount of protection from the weather.

And so, for January, Heather and I will be knitting Mini Thermal Vests with our wool stash. The pattern is written to create different sizes based on the yarn weight and needle you use, and the waffle pattern means your vest will almost certainly fit a refugee child perfectly. Made long and skinny, these vests can keep babies through toddlers and younger children warm all winter long as they hunker down in refugee camps or travel on after landing in Greece, hoping to find safety and freedom from fighting.

As you make your vests, send them on to Salaam Cultural Museum, which is a well-known and much-respected organization doing refugee work, and which has collection addresses both in the US and in London!

Salaam Cultural Museum
℅ Rita
3806 Whitman Ave N
Seattle. WA 98103

Knit for Peace (Refugee Appeal)
Radius Works
Back Lane

I'll be back early next week with my first vest, either in progress or ready to share, and some of the hints I may come up with as I've been knitting! Happy new year, and happy knitting!

The Year Of The Refugee

Robyn here.

For most of 2015, Heather and I have brought you charities and patterns, ways to combine them and help people close to you, and those across the world. It has been extremely amazing to watch this community grow as we've opened our hearts to those around us, and to the idea that we can use our needles and hooks for good.

Today is the first day of a new year, and with that newness comes a new focus for this space. As Heather and I have talked over the last few weeks and months, we've come again and again to the idea that, as much as it's great to have a huge database of charities and patterns at our disposal, what most knitters have been asking for is one simple direction.

Knit this, give it here.

In the face of so much need, all over the world, it can feel overwhelming to try to knit something and give it away. Where do you give the items once they've been knit? What is truly most needed? What pattern should I use on repeat, and with what yarn?

These are the questions we are asked most often, and so in 2016 we will begin to help you answer them. We will be focusing our knitting efforts on refugees, people with no homes. This may mean people in your neighborhood who are homeless, and this may also mean Syrian refugees.

Each month we'll be sharing about a specific need, and giving you a specific way to meet that need. In this way, we can focus as a community on meeting immediate needs in tangible ways, making the most difference with our knitting needles and crochet hooks. I'll be heading back here later tonight to share January's focus - it's a fun one, and for a hat knitter like me, a bit out of my comfort zone in all the best of ways!

Will you join us? We'd love for you to share your knitting projects across social media with the tag #makegiverepeat. This way we can band together as a community and put visuals to the work we are doing. We knitters are mighty, and we are kind, but so often we go unnoticed because we do not shout from the rooftops. It's time to start shouting, friends! We're here, and we're going to change the world, one knit and purl at a time!!


Mini Thermal Vest

Pattern: Mini Thermal Vest, by Claire Russell (free Ravelry download)

Yarn: dk weight through aran weight

Needles: sizes US 7 / 4.5mm, US 8 / 5.0mm, or US 9 / 5.5mm

Winter has reached the Midwest, and while in many areas of the US there's still warmth to be found, for those in need, the cold is setting in quickly ... and it can be extremely dangerous.

The Mini Thermal Vest can help keep little ones of a variety of ages warm, thanks to the free pattern and wide size range! You get the different vest sizes by changing gauge, which means you can make this vest to fit anywhere from infants to two year olds simply by switching needles and yarns!

While I mostly knit hats, this vest is going to be on my needles on repeat this winter, hopefully using up the bulk of the wool I have left on-hand to make vests for Syrian refugees. A vest is perfect for charity knitting, and especially for donation to refugees. A vest will provide warmth to the body, keeping vital organs warm, while not adding bulk to extremities (like arms), keeping mobility as high as possible. This means people will stay warm while still being able to do work, walk for weeks at a time (as many are), and carry their children and their belongings as they go.

For little ones, like this pattern is meant for, this type of warmth is even more important. Keeping warm while not adding bulk can mean the difference between life and death for these tiny refuge children! Wool is best in this case, although the vest can also be made in acrylics and donated to local homeless shelters for little ones in your area.

The Sliver Knit-Along On Instagram

Have you been knitting Sliver hats on repeat? Heather, Jen and I have ... man, is that pattern addictive! Above are some of the hats Jen whipped up earlier in the month, and below are some of the images from Instagram!

Remember, use the hashtag #makegiverepeat to tag any items you make for charity drives from this space, and use the tag #mgrweekendkal for the Sliver knit-along all month long! I've got a few more Christmas presents to get off the needles (I know, I've got less than 48 hours. I don't want to talk about it.) and then I'll be back to making Sliver in a variety of sizes for the rest of the month!

Sliver Knit-Along: Working The Dropped Stitches

One of my favorite parts of the Sliver hat is the dropped stitch section - it seems super difficult, but it's actually super easy to do! If you've never worked dropped stitches before, don't be afraid of them ... Jen, the pattern writer, made a quick tutorial for us to help get through those rows!

01. Place marker for dropped stitch (which will occur right after the marker.)

02 + 03. Bring yarn from the back to the front of your work, between the needles. (Yarn forward.)

04 + 05 + 06. Holding the yarn in the front, knit one stitch as you regularly would.

07. The yarn forward will create an extra stitch that will sit next to your marker.

08. Knit around in stockinette stitch for 10 (10, 12, 12, 14) rounds, knitting the yarn forward stitch as normal and slipping the marker each time. When you’ve finished these rounds, it’s time to drop the yarn forward stitch after your marker.

09. Remove that stitch from your needles.

10 + 11 + 12. Pull the stitch, dropping all the other stitches below. This will create the ‘run’ in the fabric. The dropped stitches will stop on the row where you made the yarn forward. Continue knitting the hat from there!

Thanks for the tutorial Jen .... I can't wait to work my dropped stitches!